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Higher Education Coordination Commission

Our Commitment to Equity

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) envisions a future in which all Oregonians—and especially those whom our systems have underserved and marginalized—benefit from the transformational power of high-quality postsecondary education and training. On this page, you can learn about what the HECC agency is doing to advance educational equity.

The HECC works to serve all postsecondary students and workforce participants across Oregon. To do this, it is important to understand that not every student or learner enters higher education or career training with the same experience or level of support. Accordingly, our approach must reflect the unique needs of learners and communities. By building systems and policies that support every individual, we will build a thriving future for Oregon as a whole. Our equity tools guide our work and our collective future.

Our Equity Stance: For the HECC, postsecondary education equity will be achieved once one’s community or characteristic—including but not limited to racial/ethnic identity, socio-economic background, dis/ability status, gender, parental status, veteran status, sexual orientation, and geographic origin or location—no longer predict inequitable access to and success in postsecondary education and training. We will work towards this by addressing the root historical causes of systemic racism and inequities, not just their manifestation. This work includes the intentional examination and elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that perpetuate the stark inequities in postsecondary education and workforce training we see today. 

Our commitment to improving equitable outcomes is rooted in the HECC Equity Lens. The HECC adopted the original Oregon Equity Lens in 2014, and has applied the lens as a foundation to postsecondary education and training policy and funding decisions since the HECC's first year as an agency. We encourage staff, commissioners and board members, and external partners to apply the Equity Lens.

Learn more about the HECC Equity Lens.

Learn more about how the Equity Lens is guiding our agency equity goals and initiatives.

Centering Equity in Our Agency Work

To improve supports and services to students, the HECC agency aims to operate with equity at the center of all decision-making. Guided by the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) team, HECC staff have access to tools and resources that assist in equity-minded actions. Each of the eight HECC Offices is required to have an Office Equity Action Plan with measurable goals and actions. 

In addition to applying the Equity Lens, the DEIA team provides guides and tools on best practices for HECC staff to reflect on and use to further their learning about experiences that differ from their own. Below are a few examples of the tools provided to staff by the DEIA team.

We regularly consult with partners through a Leadership Council for Equity, the Equity Advisory Committee, the Government to Government Tribal Education Cluster, and other groups. Learn how the HECC Equity Lens is guiding our agency equity goals and initiatives.

HECC Affirmative Action/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan (AA/DEI) 2023-2025.

Featured Resources for Understanding Equity Gaps in Oregon

Our agency goals and DEIA work are guided by data and research. The data tells us how learners and workforce participants are being served in our state, while the research guides us to solutions. To see the whole picture of the people in our state, the HECC produces disaggregated data reports that take deep dives into individual communities within Oregon. We also strive to make our data reports easy to read and accessible to navigate.

See all our data resources in Strategy, Research and Data.